Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Aug 21, 2002 08:06 PM


  • m

I've got a hankering for pastrami like a crack addict needs a dime bag... what's the best pastrami in LA/OC? Willing to drive great distances. It is, after all, the most sensual of the cured meats.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oh, please. Langer's, hands down. See the discussion just a little ways down this page.

    16 Replies
    1. re: LBQT

      Forgive my ignorance but ...

      I just moved from the SF Bay Area to Alhambra and noticed all the places that serve pastrami. Every burger joint and taco stand has it on the menu. Can someone explain to me why the area has so much pastrami? The funniest thing is a Mexican place near LAC Hospital that advertises "Pastrami, Burritos, Tortas" in that order on their large sign. I don't get it.

      1. re: Yvonne

        Pastrami in So Cal has become part of the multiethnic culinary mélange, shedding whatever image it had as solely a Jewish delicatessen fare. However, being ubiquitous doesn't mean being ubiquitously good, and Chowhounds have been very diligent in separating the proverbial wheat from chaff. The importance of this was driven home to me back in the spring when, on the night before the Roving Chowfest, in a well-intentioned effort to calibrate my palate for the Langer's pilgrimage the next day, I succumbed to food poisoning from one of those burger joint pastramis. I had to pass on the next day's noshing, and was duly pissed!

        1. re: Kriss Reed

          Burger-joint/fast food pastrami is a totally different substance than authentic Jewish deli pastrami. Usually the burger-joint/fast food stuff is much poorer quality, and served "french dip" style. The real stuff is not dipped, is served on good Jewish corn rye with mustard on the side, or in combination with chopped liver.

          Totally different experiences. Kriss, unfortunately, must have succumbed to his cravings, at the inferior (in terms of pastrami experience) burger-joint/fast food venue.

          But as Kriss alluded, the pastrami-dip has become part of the SoCal fast food milleu (sp?).

          When I want a truly chowriffic pastrami experience, I go to a Jewish deli, when I need a pastrami/grease fix, I go to The Hat or its ilk.

          1. re: Chino Wayne

            I've heard that Cole's (downtown) French-dip-style pastrami is exemplary ... and pretty good too.


            1. re: nubi

              Cole's is an old "L.A. Classic", never been there myself. Maybe we ought to organize a pastrami caravan one day. Wonder if Phillipes does pastrami?

              1. re: chino wayne

                Was just at Philippes yesterday... no pastrami there. But I had a great lamb sandwich with bleu cheese. Someone also recommended their breakfast, so maybe a caravan could start at Philippes in the a.m. & then walk down to Cole's for lunch, then take the redline to Langers for an afternoon nosh...

                1. re: kungfugirl6

                  The lamb and bleu cheese is the way to go at Phillipes!!!!!!
                  Very fine suggestions on the eating tour as well!!!
                  Let's go!!

                  1. re: slowrider

                    I'm off on vacation tomorrow for a week... but maybe a tour is in order in early September!

                  2. re: kungfugirl6

                    That is one great itinerary girl! How many combined years of service has that trio provided to the good citizens of Los Angeles? That would be a culinary, historical, and architectural tour.

                    1. re: kungfugirl6

                      join me... will ya... punk?

                    2. re: chino wayne

                      Cole's is walking distance (although it is a fairly long walk) from the downtown business district, and so some of my buddies and me made the trek there a couple of months back for lunch. Maybe it's just me, but I have to say I don't think it compares favorably to Philippe. The meat was dry and over cooked, and not terribly flavorful. The mustard is weak and undistinguished, and they don't have lamb. Even if it weren't such a long walk, I don't think I'd return.

                    3. re: nubi

                      Cole's is also the basis for the bar design in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"

                  3. re: Kriss Reed

                    Sure you weren't just a little nervous(your stomach that is)? Let's face it, going to the TEMPLE of PASTRAMI (Langer's) isn't for the faint hearted. You've had months to recover, have you gone yet?

                    1. re: russkar

                      At the risk of the revocation of my Chow Passport, I must admit that I've not yet made it. The virginal joy of that first bite still awaits.

                  4. re: Yvonne

                    All of East LA used to be Jewish. They hired Mexican cooks. That's why all the bagels are made by Latinos now and why pastrami is still ubiquitous on the East side.

                    1. re: chilepm

                      RIGHT? NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                2. Best pastrami in LA (or anywhere else in the USA, and I'm a New Yorker) is Langer's Deli, downtown @ 7th & Alvarado.